I had an argument with someone on super user, because he asked and answered his question within minutes here

He said, it is perfectly fine to do so, here and here.

Fine, I give up, he wins. Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks it's points farming, I have seen users all over stack exchange complaining about it, the most recent one is one week ago on chess.stackexchange.com

So if answering your questions within minutes of asking it is OK, then:

  • Is there anything as points farming? If yes, how to define it?
  • Why using SE blogs like here? If i could use SE itself as a blog, why using a blog? An answer on super user or stackoverflow is always on the first page on google, on the other hand, I have never found a SE blog using google, therefore I could use stackoverflow or whatever to promote my blog in some way, or promote myself as a blogger, I could use SE as my blog and get much more traffic.
  • 3
    It is perfectly fine. If you don’t think it’s helpful, don’t vote on it. And to answer your second question: a self-answered question still has to be appropriate for Stack Exchange, and a blog post doesn’t necessarily fit that category.
    – Ry-
    Aug 27, 2013 at 22:40
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    The time between asking and self-answering is irrelevant (there’s actually a checkbox to do it immediately) — you can’t accept a self-answer for two days anyways.
    – Ry-
    Aug 27, 2013 at 22:42
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    Just for the records' sake, I didn't ask the question, then minutes later, answer it. I used the built in feature on the "Ask a question" page that allows you to simultaneously answer a question whilst posting it. If this feature shouldn't be used, why is it there?
    – user232563
    Aug 27, 2013 at 22:42
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    So someone is sharing useful information for complete strangers and all they ask in return is for you to consider giving them worthless points. And you think this guy is bad because.....? Aug 27, 2013 at 22:47
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    The purpose of rep is to drive good content. If people care so much about rep that they generate high quality questions and answers then that is a good thing. (Obviously caring about helping people is a good motivator too) Aug 27, 2013 at 22:53
  • @RichardTingle so there's no such thing as "points farming" on SE?
    – Lynob
    Aug 27, 2013 at 23:22
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    I would say theres no such thing as bad points farming on SE (unless your definition of points farming includes voting fraud; sock puppets etc) Aug 27, 2013 at 23:24
  • @minitech So in certain cases i can treat SE as my own blog, not as a Q&A site? right? and i can use it to get traffic for my own site? right that was my question
    – Lynob
    Aug 27, 2013 at 23:25
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    @Fisher the critical question is would your question and answer have been on topic if two different people had asked and answered. If so you're all good if not then you're off topic and liable for downvotes and close votes Aug 27, 2013 at 23:26
  • @RichardTingle there was a similar case on chess.SE.com and the moderator demanded an explanation, therefore the user apologized saying he didn't mean to farm points, the user asked the question on chess.com and grabbed the answer he got there, asked the same question on chess.SE and put that answer.
    – Lynob
    Aug 27, 2013 at 23:28
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    @Fischer ah well thats quoting without attribution and would be bad whether the question author and answerer were the same or not. Thats the whole point; judge the question and answer separately Aug 27, 2013 at 23:31
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    @Richard You are running me out of comment votes! Aug 27, 2013 at 23:42

4 Answers 4


Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks it's points farming, I have seen users all over stack exchange complaining about it

The only people I've ever seen complain about this particular behavior are people who have not yet seen Jeff Atwood's blog post on the subject, which you've linked to in your question already. I understand you've only seen it very recently and it can be difficult to fully grok at first. I'll help you understand by addressing your question:

If i could use SE itself as a blog, why using a blog?

You can use SE to provide a subset of blog functionality. You can't use a question-answer pair on SE to pontificate about whether you think Vim is better than Emacs or compare Linux distributions: those are off-topic, because they are opinion-based and don't a solve a specific problem in a definitive way. You can use SE to "blog" about how you discovered and solved a tricky situation in Python, especially if you think that lots of other newbie programmers will stumble over the same problem.

Fundamentally, you need to evaluate whether the question is a good question and whether the answer is a good answer. If it helps, imagine how you'd view the Q&A if each part was written by a different person. Is the question on-topic, clearly defined, and likely to be useful to others? Does the answer actually solve the problem in a way that could be understood and used by others in the future? If so, that's wonderful; such a question and/or answer should be upvoted.

When you're a participant playing the "question-answering game" of Stack Overflow, it's easy to feel like this behavior is a kind of "cheating". You must remember, however, that the end goal of SE sites is to provide Q&A information with lasting value. If a question does that -- regardless of who asks and who answers -- then it is welcome and encouraged.

Is there anything as points farming? If yes, how to define it?

I would define "points farming" as any mechanism by which a user gains reputation without earning it by increasing the quality of the site's useful content. For example:

  • reputation rings or sock puppets that upvote one another's answers are a kind of "farming", because they generate reputation grossly disproportionate to (or in total absence of) whatever value they add to the site

  • bad-faith copying of someone else's answer in hopes of getting upvotes is a kind of "farming", because this behavior adds nothing to the content of the site (it merely repeats information already present)

Adding good content to the site is how you are supposed to get upvotes. If you can contribute that content in an on-topic Q&A format without relying on others to answer you question, that's not a problem.


He didn't just ask and answer the question within minutes, he asked and answered at the same time, which is a feature of the site. There's also a badge that encourages this behavior. Not everyone has a blog. If people want to share information on Stack Exchange sites instead of starting a blog, that's fine, as long as their contributions are on-topic for the site they post on and fit the Question & Answer format of the network.

  • i mean why one would use this blog meta.superuser.com/questions/7075/calling-all-bloggers?cb=1 and what's your definition of "points farming"
    – Lynob
    Aug 27, 2013 at 23:18
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    @Fisher Im going to go out on a limb here but I'm guessing a blog is for people who want to write a blog, as opposed to question answer pairs. And points farming is your own term, you define it Aug 27, 2013 at 23:21
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    @Fischer - I'd suggest reading this: blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/05/encyclopedia-stack-exchange for an explanation of why self-answers are considered valuable, and why the ability to answer at the same time as asking a question was added. Aug 28, 2013 at 1:01
  • @BradLarson I can see the point by reading that blog post thanks, but i can also see the people who are against that by reading the comments... when i read that question on super user, i really wanted to help coz i faced a similar issue on my linux, but when i saw the user answered his own question, "why have you wasted my time reading such a long question? give me 5 min of my life's back"... I will never answer my own question immediately, I will never ask a question that i know the answer to, I don't want to waste the time of those who want to help me
    – Lynob
    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:34
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    @Fischer How is that different from any other question that already has one answer when you first read it? Aug 28, 2013 at 11:07
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    @Fischer imagine if they'd experienced the linux problem before you. They figured it out on their own. Now they can (a) hoard their knowledge and keep quiet or (b) share it with the world in a Q&A format. Then when you have the same problem you can in senario (a) spend hours figuring it out again or (b) be helped by an existing answer. Which scenario sounds better to you. If you want to hoard your knowledge thats fine but don't blame others for sharing. Q&A is excellent for this because if you find a better solution than the OP you can add it as annother (better) answer. Aug 28, 2013 at 13:25
  • @Fischer feel free to post an answer on that question, because my answer specifically addressed Windows. It would be helpful to Linux users to have an answer tailored to them. The question isn't closed, and my answer is not perfect/universal :)
    – user232563
    Aug 28, 2013 at 15:00

what's your definition of "points farming"

"Points farming" (or, as I prefer, "Rep whoring") is any method of interacting with the site that generates reputation in a way that doesn't benefit the community. If you contribute good information to the community, then you deserve some reputation for that. You could argue whether you're being disproportionately advantaged, since people often will upvote the question and the answer. But that's a subjective matter.

Then again, think of all of those questions that get upvoted a million times and generate tons of rep... because they're funny. Disproportionate rep is a fact of life on SO; calling it out in this one instance seems kinda silly.

i mean why one would use this blog meta.superuser.com/questions/7075/calling-all-bloggers?cb=1

Because questions and answers aren't the same as a blog post.

I am a heavy contributor to SO's tag, as well as the primary contributor to the OpenGL Wiki. Both of these are useful collections of information. But they're organized, categorized, and structured very differently.

A question/answer pair is specific. It's about one particular issue. It's focused on solving one particular problem. A Wiki article or blog post is generally focused on a topic. It tries to tell you everything about the topic, either directly in text or with links to other articles that add information.

They're not interchangeable. For comprehensive information, blogs are better tools. For specific problem solving, Q&A is the best option.

It's the difference between acute treatment and chronic treatment. Q&A is acute; blogs/wikis are chronic.


Just a few things to add. I feel that one doesn't have to answer a self-answer immediately. What if someone asks a question, then after researching further finds the solution and self-answers?

I actually ran into this situation myself regarding Laptop Batteries:

Laptop Battery Technology

I answered my own question several hours after asking the original question. Although I accepted my answer (I felt it was the most complete of them all), I upvoted the others, and they were helpful in getting me closer to a more complete solution.

I feel that the whole purpose of what we do here, is to ultimately learn, and to teach. Sometimes both at the same time, and that's where self answers come into play.

What is the blog used for?

The blog's main intention is to complement and add to the main site, while not having to stick to as strict of guidelines that the main site has. This can include reviews of products, fun/humorous related topic posts, or connecting the dots of multiple questions to a bigger picture. The blog is NEVER to be a replacement or content generator to the question/answer ecosystem that the SE sites are, but rather something that can be referenced, or enjoyed.

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